General issues: German protectorate 1897-1919, French mandated territory 1921-1956, French mandated territory, Self government 1956-1958, French mandated territory, Republic 1958-1960, Republic 1960-Present
Country name in general issues: Togo
Special issues: Anglo-French occupation, British issues 1914-1916, Anglo-French occupation, French issues 1914-1916
Currency: 1 Mark = 100 Pfennig 1897-1919, 1 Shilling = 12 Pence 1914-1916, 1 Franc = 100 Centimes 1916-1946, 1 (CFA) Franc = 100 Centimes 1946-Present
Population: 484 000 in 1900, 6 817 000 in 2013
Political history Togo
Togo is located in western Africa. The population consists of a number of different Niger-Congo peoples – the largest population group is formed by the Ewe living in southern Togo. In the 19th century these peoples are organized in a large number of small polities. As there is no natural harbor on the coast, Europeans have not established trade posts in the future Togo preferring the easier options available in the current Ghana and Benin. As the ‘Scramble for Africa’ is at its height in the late 19th century, the Germans focus on Togo. In 1884, the first treaties of protection are signed with the local rulers and a German protectorate is proclaimed over the coastal region.The terms protectorate and colony seem to be used equally indiscriminately. This is often the case, but even more so, with Togo it would seem. Two resources suggest that Togo, from 1884, was a protectorate and, from 1905, a colony. Based on all resources used it is my understanding that the official designation is protectorate. At the 1885 Berlin conference – where the colonial powers divide their respective spheres of interest in Africa – Togo is awarded to Germany. The hinterland is gradually brought under effective German rule in the next decade and a half. The borders are agreed upon through successive treaties with the British and the French in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Germans set out to make Togo a model possession – plantations are set up, railroads are built, Lome is developed as a port. Coffee, cocoa and cotton are introduced as cash crops.
WWI and League of Nations mandates
The German ambitions are thwarted, though, by the outbreak of WWI. The British and the French, in 1914, invade Togo from neighboring Gold Coast – the current Ghana – and Dahomey – the current Benin. The German administration capitulates in August 1914. The British and the French establish a joint military administration. Late 1916, the British and the French agree on a de facto partition of Togo. In 1919, as a consequence of the treaty of Versailles, Germany formally cedes Togo. Togo now de jure comes under British and French administration as a mandated territory – the partition, as agreed upon in 1916, is adjusted, in 1919, to better match ethnic and administrative requirements. The extent of the mandate is defined by the League of Nations in 1922. The mandate will be extended in 1946 – Togo becoming a United Nations trust territory.
British Togoland will – although de jure remaining a separate entity – from 1916, be administered as an integral part of Gold Coast. In 1956, the population, by way of a referendum, decides in favor of association with Gold Coast. Thus, when Gold Coast gains independence as Ghana in 1957, British Togoland is de jure integrated in Ghana.
French Togo will – with the exception of a short period from 1934 to 1937 when it is administered as part of Dahomey – be administered as a separate entity. Upon the outbreak of WWII, the administration is loyal to the Vichy regime in France – the Free French led by Charles De Gaulle taking over in 1942. French Togo will gain self government in 1956, become a republic in the French Community in 1958 and gain full independence in 1960.The terms Togo and Togoland seem to be used rather indiscriminately in resources. My understanding is that the German protectorate was called Togoland until 1905, then Togo. The British mandated territory seems to be consistently called British Togoland, the French mandated territory would seem best to be called French Togo.
Shortly after independence in 1967, Gnassingbé Eyadema, through a coup d’etat, assumes power – and will remain in power until 2005. First establishing a one party state, in the 1990’s Eyadema makes nominal concessions to democracy – de facto though the entire period of Eyadema rule is characterized as a period of autocratic rule. After his death in 2005, general elections were held in 2007 – Togo seemingly being on the road to real democracy.
The largest part of the population, in the Togo economy, is employed in agriculture. Coffee, cocoa and cotton being the most important crops. Aside from agriculture, Togo has natural resources: mainly phosphate mining used for fertilizers and chemicals.
Postal history Togo
The first post office in Togo was opened in 1888. Regular German stamps are used until 1897 when the first set of stamps is issued for specific use in Togo – overprints on German stamps, the overprint reading ‘Togo’. A first set of definitives is issued in 1900. This set, and a subsequent set issued from 1909, are of the ‘Hohenzollern Yacht’ type common for the German possessions. The last German post office closes in 1914 when Togo is occupied. Stamps are issued until 1919 – stamps issued after 1914 only being sold to collectors in Berlin.
Occupation issues and League of Nations mandate
Under the joint British and French occupation of Togo, stamps are issued both by the British and the French. The first issues are overprints on available issues for German Togo. The overprints reading ‘Togo Anglo-French Occupation’ for the British issues and ‘Togo Occupation Franco-Anglaise’ for the French issues. Most of these issues are in the high to very high catalog values. Next, overprints are issued using stamps from the Gold Coast and Dahomey – the overprints being the same as before. Unoverprinted stamps of both Gold Coast and Dahomey are known to have been used in 1914.
British Togoland will come to be incorporated in Gold Coast from 1916 – the stamps of Gold Coast superseding the occupation issues. The administration of French Togo will issue stamps from 1921. The first set are provisionals – stamps of Dahomey overprinted ‘Togo’. A first set of definitives is issued in 1926. In 1941-1942, several sets of stamps are issued by the Vichy regime in France for use in French Togo. As none of these were actually put on sale in Togo, listings exist only for mint items.
As Togo moves towards independence, stamps are issued, in 1957, inscribed ‘Republique autonome du Togo’ for ‘Self governing republic of Togo’ and, from 1959, stamps inscribed ‘Republique du Togo’. Independent Togo has, from the late 1960’s on, issued stamps mainly aimed at the thematic collector market.